The Growing Wave of Discontent Disrupts Trade Flows Across Europe


Countries across Europe continue to face industrial actions and mass protests as high inflation, mounting costs of living, and economic policies push workers across the continent to stop work in demand of better everything.

Here is the latest list of industrial actions that are disrupting global trade flows this week.


Union port and truck drivers walked off the job Wednesday after contract talks broke down, paralyzing Finland’s foreign trade.  Maersk issued a statement warning customers that all vessel operations in Finnish ports, including gate movements and container handling, have been suspended.  The Finnish Port Operators Association is reporting that each day of the strike will impact more than $300 million in foreign trade at ten major ports across the country, including Helsinki, Hamina-Kotka, Hanko, Rauma, and Turku.

United Kingdom

Border Force staff have announced a strike action that will impact ports in South East England on February 17 – February 20.  The industrial action will disrupt the flow of goods through the ports Dover, Calais, Dunkirk, and Coquelles.  Delays and disruption are also expected at Inland Border Facilities (IBF) across the region.

Meanwhile, the two-day strike planned by postal workers for February 16 and 17 have been called off amid a legal challenge by Royal Mail.


A German labor union has called for workers at seven airports across the country to go on strike on February 17.  The one-day walk out by ground staff and civil aviation security seeking inflation-busting pay increases will affect all flights into and out of Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Bremen, Hanover, and Dortmund.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa is facing delays and cancellations across its entire network due to an IT failure (data cable was cut) across its entire group, including Lufthansa Cargo.  Amid the chaos, Frankfurt Airport has entirely closed for arrivals, while 69% of departures have either been delayed or cancelled.  Long-haul flights already on-route to Frankfurt are currently being diverted to other German airports, including Munich and Brussels, while short-haul flights have been stranded at origin.


Public and private sector workers across France have called for nationwide strikes and demonstrations on February 16 to protest against President Macron’s plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 63.  Strikes have also blocked oil refineries, curbed power generation, and disrupted public transit.

The industrial action by air traffic controllers at Charles de Gaulle, Paris Orly, and other major airports have severely disrupted flights, forcing major airlines to cancel hundreds of flights on Thursday and Friday.  Regional airports, including Toulouse, Marseille, Lyon, Montpellier, and Nantes, are also joining in with 20% of flights expected to be cancelled.

Port operations and ground transport are also being impacted by the pension strikes after unions representing dock and transport workers, including rail and domestic trucking, called on members to join in the strikes.

A wider mass walkout is being planned for March 7 – 8, when the pension reform bill will be debated in the Senate.